Indiana University Basketball: Why the Hoosiers Will Be Final Four Bound in 2013

Connor KillorenSenior Analyst IFebruary 6, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, IN - DECEMBER 27:  Tom Crean the Head Coach of the Indiana Hoosiers gives instructions to Verdell Jones III #12 during the Big Ten Conference game against the Penn State Nittany Lions on December 27, 2010 at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Indiana Hoosiers basketball program is historically synonymous with success. Unfortunately, that has not been the case since the forced resignation of Kelvin Sampson in February of 2008. Since then, the program has struggled—and "struggling" would be an understatement.

The hiring of Tom Crean was the first step towards the light for this program that has very much been in the dark. Crean's record through his first two seasons was 16-46. That was to be expected for a program that was left with one scholarship player when Crean was hired. However, his first recruiting class included two of the best players in the nation: Maurice Creek and Christian Watford.

That first recruiting class was the first sign that Indiana was headed back to the days of success that it typically enjoys.

This season IU has a 12-12 record, but has had two very big wins: a 52-49 victory against No. 21 Illinois and a 60-57 triumph over No. 20 Minnesota. Those quality wins against top-25 opponents is concrete evidence that Crean has his program headed in the right direction.

Crean has been busy on the recruiting trail during the current season as well. His biggest commitment to date was that of Indiana native Cody Zeller, a five-star, 6'10", 210-pound power forward. Zeller is a current high school senior who will set foot on campus this summer.

It doesn't end there.

Crean signed three high-quality recruits in the class of 2012: five-star point guard Yogi Ferrell, five-star power forward Hanner Perea and four-star shooting guard Ron Patterson.

When those signees step on campus in the summer of 2012, they will become part of an already solid nucleus of players that will include Cody Zeller. The key players on this year's squad—Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Maurice Creek, Victor Oladipo, Derek Elston and Will Sheehey—will be in their final years of eligibility.

That core group plus the signees of 2011 and 2012 will lead IU back to the hallowed ground of success—a trip to the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta.